Like you, if I am going to spend time cutting out and sewing a T-shirt, I want it to fit at least as well as, if not better than RTW.
You know after visiting numerous blogs with the proud sewers wearing their T-shirts, you can see drag lines up the wazoo. Oh yes, the comments are raving about how well the knit top looks without ever mentioning the drag lines where a bust dart could/should be or the sleeve cap being too short (my pet peeve). Even on Men’s RTW T-shirts you can see drag lines on the chest:
Next time you browse through the myriad of blogs bragging about their latest T-shirt pattern from yet another Indie “designer” really check out where those drag lines are and if the front rises up like this one…holy moley…even without boobs, it is unacceptable!
So, I set about to compare 2 Coni Crawford patterns…one Butterick 5215 and one of Coni’s own label CS1207. The Butterick has 3 styles all with different amounts of ease and unless you measure them and measure yourself, you have no idea of which one to cut out.
I am so tired of reading blogs and reviews where the sewer says, “I cut a size 12 because I always cut a size 12 and it didn’t fit”…well isn’t that brilliant? Did they measure ANYTHING or themselves? I doubt it. Did they even stretch the fabric to see if it was a 4 way or had good recovery…maybe not.
Photos were taken before I cut the fabric so I knew what was being offered and it had to come close to a RTW top I have that fits well (loose) for my work. There is a new Pinterest page showing all the steps I went through to get to the point of cutting BEFORE cutting.
While View B of CS 1207 came closest to the desired measurements, it was sleeveless and had a square neckline so I moved on to the View A of CS 1207 knowing that the 2 extra inches in the bust would be removed and possibly the hip area too. If you CLTL (cut large, trim later) you at least have something to work with instead of a wadder that is too snug.
So you may say you don’t want to go through all those stages…so don’t…keep cutting that size 12 no matter whether it is from the Big 4 or some wild-eyed Indie blogger who wants to charge you $20 for a basically un-tested pattern.
If you have a cup size larger than a “D”, I wish you good luck in getting a flat front pattern to reach across your chest without bulk under your armpit, and not make drag lines and/or rise up in the center front and expose your waist.
Measuring the RTW item you want to duplicate makes sense too, so let’s do it…Total bust 46″ and total length 25″:
Bicep 16″and total hip 51″ :
Upper chest 15.5″ and shoulder width 4″ :
I have seen designers avoid using darts in knits by tugging excess fabric up towards the shoulder or down towards the side seam as has been the common rule, but I have no problem adding an armhole dart (especially in a print knit) because that is where I needed it. Also the back side seams are “slipped” 1/2 inch as the front ones are moved over to be more flattering. I did not include photos of “truing up” the side seams but they will be equal in length and curve on the paper pattern later.
Trying on the garment along the way to check for gaps and drag lines before the sleeves are attached. You can see the horizontal lines are parallel with the floor, no riding up and all I added was the armhole dart. Please excuse the center photo with the twisting, it makes it look like the side seam is at an angle which it is not.
Adding the dart on the paper and re-measuring the armhole front and back with the large Curve Runner tool.
The side seams were also taken in from the waist to hips. This fabric was so soft and stretchy that like many knits, it tended to “grow” during the handling and trying on so the seams needed to be taken in a little more than usual. The side seams at the bust are curved on all Coni’s patterns for ease and the best fit so if your T-shirt pattern is straight, maybe you would want to add that subtle curve.
Here is how I compare patterns by stacking. I eventually used the CS 1207 with the thicker white paper on the bottom. Did I think about making a muslin? No, because I have measured every aspect of all the patterns and the RTW top and the only variable is the drape of this poly knit once it is on my body and I can pin and tweak it to fit better.
The altered sleeve and dart before the neck binding:
Comparing the finished garment with the RTW you can see the back neckline is higher for my rounded back and the sleeves are 2 inches longer…hooray! Thanks, Coni!
So now I have a pattern ready for the next time I use a poly knit like this one.
If you have time please visit the Pinterest page to see more of the steps, as I did not want to include/
bore the pants off you with all 50+ photos here.
I want to thank Alethia for her recent link to the resurgence of US made garments: http://sewmuchtalent.com/video/video/show?id=2115730%3AVideo%3A80054&xgs=1&xg_source=msg_share_video
Happy New Year Everyone!